Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Turn On, Tune In, Veg Out

"Scientists and technologists have the same uneasy status in our society as the Jedi in the Galactic Republic. They are scorned by the cultural left and the cultural right, and young people avoid science and math classes in hordes. The tedious particulars of keeping ourselves alive, comfortable and free are being taken offline to countries where people are happy to sweat the details, as long as we have some foreign exchange left to send their way. Nothing is more seductive than to think that we, like the Jedi, could be masters of the most advanced technologies while living simple lives: to have a geek standard of living and spend our copious leisure time vegging out."

Neal Stephenson

in reference to: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/17/opinion/17stephenson.html?_r=1 (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, December 28, 2009

crafting for guys

"I don't know about you, but I always have a hard time crafting for guys. Most of my craft ideas spring from things that I want or need and, not being a man, I have a hard time relating. I've made ties from scratch before, but they've all turned out a bit too, shall we say, flamboyant for your average Joe. This project might be a little over the top too, but if you have a fella in your life who loves a unique tie, I think that this would make him smile from ear to ear come Christmas morning."

in reference to: http://www.craftstylish.com/item/30659/how-to-embroider-a-necktie (view on Google Sidewiki)

Vintage Sewing

"The needle is brought up from the under portion of the garment through to the upper portion which is to be joined, leaving about one-inch end of the thread to be tied on the under portion of the garment, also leaving enough extra thread to give the garment whatever ease may be required between the folds of the material."

in reference to: http://www.vintagesewing.info/1910s/17-ad/ad-09.html (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, December 26, 2009


"But actually I care less about the right thing to do now than I care about the only thing to do in the future. That’s to build out the Net as a basic utility. Not as a secondary (or tertiary) service of phone and cable companies.

I know that’s not how it is now, and that’s not how it’s gong to be for awhile. Right now the Net is still seen as gravy rather than as meat. But this will change. Count on it. And count on more money being made on the transition than on maintaining today’s defaults. Also count on it all going faster if we can also handle our own end of it, in our own homes and neighborhoods.

Companies betting on the free and ubiquitous Internet of the future have the best chance of winning in the long run. They just won’t win by continuing to monetize the Net on the pay toilet model. "

in reference to:

"it would make far more sense just to bake the service into those price and let the guests use the Net for free, just like they use water, bedding and electricity."
- Doc Searls Weblog · Progress (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Business awards for 2009

"It has been quite a year in the world of business and finance beginning with warnings of Armageddon yet ending with optimism re-emerging. Along the way there have been some entertaining and memorable moments, some of which are captured in the awards below."

The $2.2B the banks owed IRD didn't make it...

in reference to:

"The German Zimmer frame gang, unsurprisingly consisting of a group of pensioners, was accused of kidnapping and torturing a financial adviser who lost about $4 million of their savings."
- Business awards for 2009 - business | Stuff.co.nz (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Looking Back at Google in 2009

"And what were some of Google’s releases and new efforts in 2009? The competition wasn’t sleeping, as we can see with Microsoft’s search contender Bing, or Wolfram Alpha; the return of the butler to Ask’s UK site is probably less noteworthy (and Yahoo continued to put a price tag on private user data, as internal documents revealed; search for “Basic subscriber records: approx. $20 for the first ID, $10 per ID thereafter”). Have a look at what Google came up with:"

Shee-ite! I'd some idea that it had been a busy year but...

in reference to:

"Because of our reach, technical know-how, and lust for big projects, we can take on big challenges that require large investments and lack an obvious, near-term pay-off. We can photograph the world’s streets so that you can explore the neighborhood around an apartment you are considering renting from a thousand miles away. We can scan millions of books and make them widely accessible (while respecting the rights of publishers and authors). We can create an email system that gives away a gigabyte of storage (now over 7 gigs) at a time when all other services allow only a small fraction of that amount. We can instantly translate web pages from any of 51 languages. We can process search data to help public health agencies detect flu outbreaks much earlier. We can build a faster browser (Chrome), a better mobile operating system (Android), and an entirely new communications platform (Wave), and then open them up for the world to build upon, customize, and improve. We can do these things because they are information problems and we have the computer scientists, technology, and computational power to solve them. When we do, we make numerous platforms – video, maps, mobile, PCs, voice, enterprise – better, more competitive, and more innovative. We are often attacked for being too big, but sometimes being bigger allows us to take on the impossible."
- Looking Back at Google in 2009 (view on Google Sidewiki)

How a new communications technology disrupted America’s newspaper industry—in 1845

"CHANGE is in the air. A new communications technology threatens a dramatic upheaval in America’s newspaper industry, overturning the status quo and disrupting the business model that has served the industry for years. This “great revolution”, warns one editor, will mean that some publications “must submit to destiny, and go out of existence.” With many American papers declaring bankruptcy in the past few months, their readers and advertisers lured away by cheaper alternatives on the internet, this doom-laden prediction sounds familiar. But it was in fact made in May 1845, when the revolutionary technology of the day was not the internet—but the electric telegraph."

in reference to:

"How a new communications technology disrupted America’s newspaper industry—in 1845"
- Newspapers and technology: Network effects | The Economist (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, December 18, 2009

The year in nonsense

"A £6m Home Office drugs education study was published with no results, because it was so flawed it couldn’t produce any, we saw MPs being foolish about cervical screening and moon magic, and then when they didn’t like the scientific evidence they got from Professor David Nutt, they sacked him. If politicians want us to take them seriously on the evidence for global warming, they have to show they care about evidence everywhere. It’s only slightly worse in Iraq, where they’ve just spent $32m on 800 sciencey looking dowsing rods to detect bombs."

in reference to: http://www.badscience.net/2009/12/the-year-in-nonsense/ (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ghosts in the form of gifts

"These objects are replicas of artifacts imagined as lost, hidden or misregistered during the Museum of New Zealand's tenure in the former Museum Building on Buckle St, now occupied by Massey University's College of Creative Arts. The objects have been created through a process of drawing, digital 3D rendering, and finally printing with an Open Source 3-dimensional printer – the RepRap."

in reference to: http://bronwyn.co.nz/projects/gifts.html (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cabinet Paper: Illegal Peer-To-Peer file sharing

"This paper makes recommendations for amendments to the Copyright Act 1994 (the Act) to provide a process for right holders to pursue repeat online copyright infringers."

in reference to: http://www.med.govt.nz/templates/MultipageDocumentTOC____42332.aspx (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What’s in Store for 2010? A Few Predictions

"Cloud API Proliferation Will Become a Serious Problem
Data as Revenue
Developer Target Fragmentation Will Accelerate
It’s All About the Analytics
Marketplaces Will Be Table Stakes
New Languages to Watch
NoSQL Will Bid for Mainstream Acceptance
FOSS Predictions"

Via Nat Torkington

in reference to: http://redmonk.com/sogrady/2009/11/12/2010-predictions/ (view on Google Sidewiki)

How to Give the People What They Want

"Demand Media has created a virtual factory that pumps out 4,000 videoclips and articles a day. It starts with an algorithm.
The algorithm is fed inputs from three sources: Search terms (popular terms from more than 100 sources comprising 2 billion searches a day), The ad market (a snapshot of which keywords are sought after and how much they are fetching), and The competition (what’s online already and where a term ranks in search results)."

in reference to: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/10/ff_demandmedia/all/1 (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

English libel law is becoming a global disgrace

"After a year-long Inquiry, English PEN and Index on Censorship have concluded that English libel law has a negative impact on freedom of expression, both in the UK and around the world. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, and should only be limited in special circumstances. Yet English libel law imposes unnecessary and disproportionate restrictions on free speech, sending a chilling effect through the publishing and journalism sectors in the UK. This effect now reaches around the world, because of so-called 'libel tourism', where foreign cases are heard in London, widely known as a 'town named sue'. The law was designed to serve the rich and powerful, and does not reflect the interests of a modern democratic society."

in reference to: http://libelreform.org/ (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The patent system: End it, don't mend it

"A great deal of applied economic research has tried to answer this question. The short answer is that intellectual property does not increase innovation and creation. Extending IP rights may modestly boost the incentive for innovation, but this positive effect is wiped away by the negative effect of creating monopolies. There is simply no evidence that strengthening patent regimes increases innovation or economic productivity. In fact, some evidence shows that increased protection even decreases innovation. The main finding is that making it easier to get patents increases … patenting!"

in reference to:

"The patent system: End it, don't mend it"
- The patent system: End it, don't mend it | csmonitor.com (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How Men and Women Badly Estimate Their Own Intelligence

"In investigating the question of whether men are smarter than women, British researcher Adrian Furnham came up with some startling results. His analysis of some 30 studies showed that men and women are fairly equal overall in terms of IQ, but women underestimate their own intelligence while men overestimate theirs. Surprisingly, both men and women perceived men being smarter across generations — both sexes believe that their fathers are smarter than their mothers and their grandfathers are more intelligent than their grandmothers. And if there are children, both men and women think their sons are brighter than their daughters."

in reference to:

"How Men and Women Badly Estimate Their Own Intelligence"
- Slashdot Science Story | How Men and Women Badly Estimate Their Own Intelligence (view on Google Sidewiki)

KAREN » NEN Evaluation Project

"The school is aware that sharing video can incur large data costs however where students are connected using a common ISP (Internet Service Provider) as the school this will reduce the cost to almost nothing. There has also been demand for French TV and an application is currently in progress to very soon be able to push out this out to schools on KAREN."

I wasn't aware of any ISP who discriminated in favour of intra-ISP traffic.

UPDATE: "SNAP offered free home to school traffic."

in reference to:

"KAREN » NEN Evaluation Project"
- KAREN - NEN Evaluation Project - Christ's (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Memories of a paywall pioneer

"I'm not hostile to the notion of people paying for online content. I do so myself. I'm glad people stepped up and paid for Salon. But the value of stuff online is usually tied to how deeply it is woven into the network. So locking your stuff away in order to charge for it means that you are usually making it less valuable at the moment that you are asking people to pay for it. And that's why people so often respond with: "No thanks."

in reference to:

"if you have a product that is scarce, you can charge for it more easily. Specialised information, information that people need to earn their livings and can't get elsewhere, and so on. If there are free alternatives, you are not going to get very far, even with an edge in quality."
- Memories of a paywall pioneer | Media | guardian.co.uk (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, December 4, 2009

The real cost to business of government guarantees

"There are good reasons why governments should not guarantee the liabilities of any private sector business. Such guarantees are likely to cost money and, in the case of banks, a lot of money.

There are three less obvious but also powerful arguments against such provision. The first is that such guarantees distort competition. Those who benefit will outperform rivals, not because they are more efficient or better at serving customers, but because they have access to cheaper capital. The second argument is that if government relieves companies of business risk, more risk will be taken. This is moral hazard. The third issue is that government intervention gets in the way of private sector initiatives, internal and external, to manage risk, which might be cheaper and less intrusive."

in reference to:

"The most effective control is other parties’ diligence in assessing the businesses with which they deal."
- The real cost to business of government guarantees (view on Google Sidewiki)

Is the 'Bandwidth Hog' a Myth?

This is therefore a good indication of the level of bandwidth at which you start being considered a "hog". But wait: 50 Gbyte a month is… 150 kbps average (0,15 Mbps), 150 Gbyte a month is 450 kbps on average. If you have a 10 Mbps link, that’s only 1,5 % or 4,5 % of its maximum advertised speed!

And that would be "hogging"?

No, the margins on overage, that is hogging.

in reference to:

"Is the 'Bandwidth Hog' a Myth?"
- Fiberevolution: Is the 'Bandwidth Hog' a Myth? (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New research suggests porn is overly demonized

"Pornography has long been considered to be one of the main motivators of major technological inventions, from the camera to the worldwide Web. Its effects on human health and sexuality have also been, and likely will always be, hotly debated. (The pun is irresistible.)

But new research out of the University of Montreal suggests that pornography is so widely digested, and with such a seemingly low correlation to "pathological" behavior, that it is grossly over-demonized. The research is funded by the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Family Violence and Violence Against Women."

in reference to:

""We couldn't find any,""
- New research suggests porn is overly demonized | Health Tech - CNET News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Intelligent Ways to Solve the Middle Mile Problem

"unbundling in France didn't pick up outside of dense urban areas until local governments were allowed to invest in backhaul fiber networks. What they did was connect of of the incumbents local exchanges and sold the backhaul dark fiber at reasonable prices to the altnets who then promptly went and unbundled all of these exchanges. This in turn drove competition and led to better prices for consumers.

In other words, a virtuous circle.

Could this same model be applicable to FTTH deployment? In rural areas, I certainly think so. "

in reference to:

"very often, Rural backhaul is a monopoly, and we all know how monopoly prices are set. When in addition, the owner of the backhaul is a copper competitor on the access, the incentive is pretty clear to gouge you on backhaul prices."
- Fiberevolution: Intelligent Ways to Solve the Middle Mile Problem (view on Google Sidewiki)

The Fall and Rise of Media

"For those of us who work in Manhattan media, it means that a life of occasional excess and prerogative has been replaced by a drum beat of goodbye speeches with sheet cakes and cheap sparkling wine. It’s a wan reminder that all reigns are temporary, that the court of self-appointed media royalty was serving at the pleasure of an advertising economy that itself was built on inefficiency and excess. Google fixed that. "

in reference to:

"Earlier in November, the New York comptroller said that employment in communications in New York had lost 60,000 jobs since 2000"
- The Media Equation - For Media, a Sunset Is Followed Quickly by a Sunrise - NYTimes.com (view on Google Sidewiki)

Developmental Psychologist Says Teenagers Are Different

"For the adults, the presence of friends has no effect. But for adolescents, just having friends nearby doubles the number of risks they take. We’ve found that a certain part of the brain is activated by the presence of peers in adolescents, but not in adults."

in reference to:

"Laurence Steinberg, a developmental psychologist at Temple University in Philadelphia, is one of the leading experts in the United States on adolescent behavior and adolescent brain biology."
- A Conversation With Laurence Steinberg - Developmental Psychologist at Temple and Expert on Adolescents - Interview - NYTimes.com (view on Google Sidewiki)